• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • CBO Report Confirms Rich Already Pay Their "Fair Share"

    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released its latest estimates on the share of taxes paid by income level, giving voters a way to check the argument that the rich do not pay “their fair share.”

    Using 2009 tax year data, CBO’s report shows the amount of income people earned and taxes they paid across different income groups.

    You will see a lot of news on this report. What you are unlikely to see, though, are these facts from the CBO report:

    • On just federal-level taxes, the top 1 percent of income earners already have an effective tax rate of 29 percent. (This should please Warren Buffett!)
    • President Obama has achieved his goal of increasing redistribution: The top 20 percent has seen its after-tax share of total income fall, especially the top 1 percent, while the lower income groups have seen their share rise.
    • The top 1 percent pays well over its “fair share”—it pays a much larger share of taxes (22.3 percent) than the share of income it earns (13.3 percent)—as does the full top 20 percent. Meanwhile, the bottom income groups pay a much smaller share of taxes than their share of income: The bottom 40 percent earned 14.9 percent of income but paid just 4.1 percent of federal taxes. (See chart)

    So when the President and the his supporters complain that the rich are not paying their fair share of taxes, and Warren Buffett suggests another tax to ensure that they start paying more, someone should show them this government report. If the argument is that America must ensure that the rich pay, it must just be rhetoric—because they are already paying.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    23 Responses to CBO Report Confirms Rich Already Pay Their "Fair Share"

    1. Jon says:

      How exactly did you group the numbers? None of them add up.
      1. It's not 100% across the board.
      2. Total federal income taxes should equal 100%, but not matter what combination of figures I use, I can't get that to work out.

      Seems like very deceptive math/graphs.

      • Stirling says:

        If you consider the Top 1%, and Top 2% is part of the Top 20% it may make more sense Jon.. HF just broke things down so you can see what it looks like cumulatively compared to the middle, and bottom brackets.. Since most of the Liberal attacks are on the top 1% and top 2%, this shows the lie the media is using.

        • Mike says:

          There's also no bar for the 2nd highest quintile, I.e. the folks in the 60th to 80th percentiles.

      • ron says:

        Your looking at percentage of income paid into the tax system. Not total tax revenues.

      • guest says:

        you're right Jon

    2. Stirling says:

      Thanks much for the Chart there.. All you "Fair Share" Liberal Lemings please shut the trap and start paying up.. Considering the subsidies that the lowest income groups get from the government in addition to not paying any Federal Taxes at all, most of you actually have more "disposable income" then most in the upper tax brackets.

      "Progressives" if you want "socialism" please move out of this country, you have many other countries to choose from rather then stay here and leach off the rest of us that actually earn our money for a living and have a right to keep as much money as we are legally able to do so.. You (progressives) insult our inteligence to think that socialism makes everything "Fair" because that is a lie as is your Utopia of Government Run Everything.

      • josh says:

        Yeah let me go buy that mansion then. My disposable income after taxes will be 31000 on a salary of 38500 a year. How is that more than the top 1%. 380000 dollars a year is were the top bracket is 39%. So the one who made 380000 dollars in obama's plan will have a disposable income of 235000 dollars a year after federal taxes and less the states taxes. Just cause we can do math doesnt mean were all liberals, we just have a brain.

    3. Bobbie says:

      and the people confirm government unconstitutionality is unacceptable. Government spending is unacceptable. Government unaccountabilities are unacceptable. Obama's government degradation of Americans is unacceptable. Obama's government degradation of freedom is unacceptable. Obama's government degradation of liberties is unacceptable. Obama's government degradation of self reliance is unacceptable. And when the President degrades the "rich" to say they aren't paying their fare share while all the while he won't respect to hold people self reliant, diverting the initiative by subsidizing their dependency, just points in the direction of his antagonistic drive to build welfare by resentment to make his gain while holding people back from their personal ability to be self reliant at all income levels… The more government control the less personal dignity, the less freedom, the less America!

    4. Don says:

      Why is there an argument on how much we pay taxes? It should be why is the government is spending so much? If you get people working again all this will go away…,
      This is a tool to divide and distract from the real issues.,,

      • Stirling says:

        Because since "taxes" were inacted, it's been a tool to limit the ability of indivuduals to live free from the government. Even if the government kept "spending" but taxes were rock bottom, the private sector could grow enoguh to offest it in theory.. But when you have both high taxes, and high spending it mutes any ability for growth in business or on a personal level..

        I agree spending has to be addressed, but only spending cuts won't bring back prosperity. See Kennsian Economics v.s Austrian Economic Models to understand why this administration has chosen the Anti-American Route.

    5. libertarian jerry says:

      What I don't understand is why should I pay my "fair share" if I never get my "fair share?" Why should I pay taxes for government "services" that I neither want nor need? It seems that I am just a cash cow for the people riding the government gravy train. This makes me a tax slave. The Left says that it is "noble" to help the "disadvantaged." I would like to know whats so noble about slavery?

      • Cheeseforyourwhine says:

        It's called citizenry. And not all government services go to people "riding the government gravy train". God forbid something happens to you or your family one day and you should need assistance.

        • thankyouplease says:

          Not all, but many social programs encourage dependence on the government. It's co-dependency on a grand scale. After a while people begin to feel they ate entitled to these benefits. We should concentrate more on hand up's rather than hand outs.

      • OneManForSense says:

        And you don't benefit MORE from such things as law enforcement, infrastructure, etc. than those who are barely getting by? Just WHO is the parasite?

    6. Lucy says:

      My question : Obama Care ? or Obama Tax ? Ridiculous problem in this country
      The reason of this problem is only one AMERICA HAVE TO LEARN, because son people are looking only the big mouth of the White House.
      God Bless America in November 2012

    7. OneManForSense says:

      And just what is the % of the remaining income above basic living expenses?

      For most of the bottom 40%, I'd wager infinite, i.e., taken out of the money for their basic living expenses. Is that a "fair share"?

      And what good is it for the country, seeing as how many turn to crime and other such economic sink-holes to make money?

    8. Moshe Richman says:

      if u don't account for social security u can prove anything u like.

      the very rich don't pay even 1% ss

    9. KevoTea says:

      I don't know about yall, but I looked into the top 5 jobs making $200,000 plus a year (average in America), and the 5 were all related to some sort of surgery. Therefore, if they are single or have a spouse that is also successful, then they will be getting hit by the higher taxes, plus be effected by ObamaCare. How is it fair to hit somebody with higher taxes saying they don't pay their fair share but yet they worked their tails off to become successful…… Makes no sense to me at all. The so called top 2% got where they are by hard work, long hours, and are still probably working 6 or 7 days a week to remain where they are.

    10. KevoTea says:

      It is not fair at all, and I definitely am not in the top 2%, but I know what is fair. I also know that it will all roll down hill and they will get that money back somewhere. Think about it and don't let the government brainwash you. Just because Obama and his people say that they don't pay their fair share in money, they do in life trying to keep their companies up and running so that they can keep our jobs going. It used to be hard work pays off, now it is turning into hard work pays-off-everybody elses "entitlements" and "debt".

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×